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Serial Plate Restorations


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#1 johndeereelfman OFFLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2011 - 05:15 PM

There is nothing better than the pride you have, after restoring that favorite Garden Tractor. But no matter how nice the paint turned out, how clean and shinny those new tires look, or how many compliments you receive, you just can't help feel, that the restoration isn't complete, because you didn't do anything with that ugly looking serial plate. Believe it or not, this is the very first thing most collectors look at when checking out your tractor. They want to see if you are correct with the year that you have listed on your identification registration, or to see how low your serial number is, or to see if the tractor model truely is what you say it is. Well, now is the time to start making that serial plate look just as good as your tractor finish, and put you at ease, in knowing that your restoration is complete.

I thought I'd take the time to explain how I do my serial plates over, and maybe we can
thread off of this to see other ways of restoring them from other members. Here are some before and after pictures of some serial plates that I have done.

 

Serial Plates 003.JPG Serial Plates 013.JPG

 

Serial Plates 006.JPG Serial Plates 014.JPG

 

Serial Plates 007.JPG Serial Plates 010.JPG

 

 

 

 

I thought I'd use a step-by-step process, so that our members could use the techniques, and be able to follow along, and apply it as needed. I'm not an expert, so don't think that my ways are gold. It is just something that a lot of guys over look, and I wanted to give ideas on how to do them, and to show that it's really a simple procedure to do.

1) I take a piece of #0000 steel wool lightly over the entire plate, being careful not to press too hard, so that you aren't removing the painted base color. Try and rub all the same direction, usually the wide of the plate. If your plate has a lot of paint over spray on it, spray it and let it soak with some WD-40. This will help to soften the paint, and will also help in getting a nice shine out of the aluminum. Be sure to clean the edges of the plate, and to remove any old paint off as best you can.
2) After you have the plate looking good, touch up any base color with Testor's model paint, using the same brush direction. After the paint touch up is cured, lightly go over the plate again, so that you even out the touched up areas.
3) Spray the entire plate with clear enamel spray paint. Depending on how much you had to rub the base color to get it clean, you may have to apply two or three coats of clear, in order to get a nice shine. If a shine is not desired on your serial plate, then go over the plate again lightly, after the clear coat is dry, to dull the appearance.
4) Re-attach your plate to your console or frame with new Stainless Steel twist rivets. I buy these by the box of 1000 from a company called MG hardware. There are numerous sizes available, and run about $27.00 a box. If you need more information as to where to get these, let me know, and I'll get you the contact information.
5) Sit back and enjoy your nice looking serial plate, and know that your restoration is now complete.


Edited by johndeereelfman, January 10, 2013 - 09:55 PM.

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#2 Littledeere ONLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2011 - 05:32 PM

That sounds good I 'm always up for a bit of learning
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#3 whtractor OFFLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2011 - 05:57 PM

Great info
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#4 ckjakline ONLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2011 - 07:03 PM

Troy.After you download pictures you can move them around.Don't ask me how but i did by accident.

I also use the steel wool and clearcoat.Havn't had to paint any yet.
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#5 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2011 - 07:04 PM

Troy, I moved some of your pics around, hope that was OK. Think I got them right, or close.

Nice job :thumbs: and great info :worshippy2:
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#6 DH1 ONLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2011 - 07:19 PM

Good stuff I was always afraid of removing the black paint but it looks like you got that problem licked.
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#7 johndeereelfman OFFLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2011 - 07:21 PM

Serial Plates 015.JPG Serial Plates 2 009.JPG

 

 


Here is another serial plate that I'm currently working on now. I still have a little green paint to get off yet, and spray it, but at least you guys see that restoring these plates can be done. This plate had a lot of paint on it, as you can see on the before shot, and took a little more time and WD-40 to get it to this point. When I have it completely stripped of the green paint, and have it clear coated, I'll take another picture so you can see just how nice they turn out.

Alan, thanks for the help! I typed my message, and then added the pictures. The pictures were scattered between my lines and all over the place. I tried moving them around Craig, but then my sentenences were all rearranged. When I tried to reconfigure my sentenances back to the way they needed to be, I ended up deleting some pictures, so I just gave up.


Edited by johndeereelfman, January 10, 2013 - 11:33 AM.


#8 johndeereelfman OFFLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2011 - 07:53 PM


Tractor Pictures 140.JPG

 


Here is a picture of a serial plate that I did over, on a John Deere 212, that I restored last summer. It was another one that was fully painted over, and almost took as long to clean up as it did to restore the tractor.


Edited by johndeereelfman, January 10, 2013 - 11:36 AM.


#9 Lovintractorin OFFLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2011 - 09:08 PM

That is some great info to remember. Thanks Troy. Not to derail your thread Troy but I got a tag that is corroded from the back and very thin with it coming though in spots. Anyone figure out what to do with them. Is it possible to get them redone? or to redo them yourself with a little paint and an aluminum tag. It is a little worst now, than when I took this picture.

IMG_0022.jpg
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#10 johndeereelfman OFFLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2011 - 09:25 PM

Tucker,

My suggestion for you, would be to take the plate off as carefully as possible, and go to a sign shop where they might be able to reproduce you a decal of the plate. Cut yourself a piece of aluminum the same size as your original one, and apply the decal. But then again, that tag is in pretty bad shape, and removing it may be difficult. Might just be well enough to just leave it alone. I'd be afraid of doing more damage, and then you wouldn't have anything.
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#11 grand OFFLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2011 - 09:42 PM

Thank you Troy for the very useful info. The pics were wonderful.Keep up the good work my friend.
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#12 wvbuzzmaster OFFLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2011 - 10:09 PM

Troy,
All the restoration techniques you use and share are helpful to those that are just starting or still learning and want their restorations to turn out as professional as yours. It doesn't matter what color it is, the techniques are the same.
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#13 johndeereelfman OFFLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2011 - 10:39 PM

You're right Casey. Just because I'm a John Deere collector, and I used John Deere serial plates, doesn't mean this thread can't be used on multiple brand tractors. I know a lot of tractor brands that used aluminum serial plates for identification. This is one of the reasons as to why I posted this forum here, and not in the John Deere section. We all want to do the best job we can on our restorations, and this will hopefully give guys the edge on getting that final little touch. This same technique can be used on the implement serial plates as well. I'm not sure what the other brands used on the attachment tags, but early John Deere implements, were made of Brass. I have used the same technique on a couple of brass mower deck tags, snowblower tag, and the air compressor tag, and ended up with nice results.

I did forget to mention earlier, one thing that would help all of you first timers, is practice this on some old serial plates that aren't important on your major restorations. Maybe start out trying this technique on the implement tags first. I just don't want to see guys trying this for the first time, rubbing to hard and removing the base coat, and then not being able to fix it, thus ruining a good tag and restoration. Practice makes perfect. I have gotten on ebay already, and just bought old tags from sellers that took tractors apart, and are piecing everything out, like Joe's Outdoor Power World. He usually sells the tags individually, and they don't go for much, maybe a couple of dollars. Trust me, a couple dollars for a used tag, is still better than ruining a tag that you need for a complete restoration.

If for some chance you do ruin a tag by rubbing too hard, and removing more of the base coat than expected, don't throw the tag away thinking its no longer any good. Believe me, I rubbed way too hard a couple of times. What I ended up doing is, repainting the entire tag with a thin shot of flat black spray paint. After cured, lightly rub the entire tag again with the steel wool, and concentrating on just removing enough paint, just so the high ridged aluminum letters and edges will clean up, and match what the original tag used to look like. Take a picture of the original tag before you do anything, just in case you have to refer back to it, to see which areas were painted, and which were exposed aluminum.
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#14 wvbuzzmaster OFFLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2011 - 10:54 PM

I want to add one more thing at the end of Troy's message. If your tag is painted over and you don't have a clue what it should look like, find a picture of one on the internet. Then when you start removing that paint you know exactly where you can and can't press a little harder.
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#15 caseguy OFFLINE  

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Posted December 03, 2011 - 11:05 PM

Thank you very much for the tips and techniques! Wheel Horse used aluminum tags up through the '70s, but switched to a sticker sometime in the '80s. I will give it a try when the time comes!
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